08 August 2008

NZ economy coping with global crisis

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Ruth Dyson, Minister for Social Development and Employment, released a statement yesterday congratulating New Zealand’s economy for maintaining its low jobless rate despite tough global economic challenges.

According to the latest quarterly Household Labour Force Survey, the long-term unemployment rate has decreased over the past year and the number of people employed has increased, with 33,000 people joining the workforce.

The unemployment rate is sitting at 3.9 per cent, which is almost 2 per cent lower than the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average rate.  The OECD, which is a worldwide organisation that monitors, analyses and shares global economic data, places New Zealand as having the 6th lowest unemployment rate in the OECD.  Nine years ago the country was sitting at 15th place. 

"What this rating indicates is that the New Zealand economy is coping with the significant international pressures comprised of high oil prices, the global credit crunch and high food costs," said Ms Dyson.

"The unemployment rate remains low. This is especially significant at a regional level where unemployment is under 5% in every region for the first time since December 2006," she added.

Recent shortfalls in regional employment have been solved by a pilot programme run by New Zealand Immigration to attract overseas temporary workers.  Under the scheme, Pacific Islanders are granted temporary working visas and are allowed to work only in specified horticultural areas that are in high demand of seasonal workers.

New Zealand Immigration also recently made changes to the immigration policy which are hoped to attract more highly skilled workers and protect the jobs of lower skilled New Zealanders already living in the country.  The new Essential Skills policy means that higher skilled workers can live and work in New Zealand on a temporary visa for longer, and lower skilled workers will always be given priority for local jobs over foreign workers on New Zealand visas.

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people emigrate to New Zealand.

Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.

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